Does your marriage lack intimacy?
Are you struggling with performance anxiety?
Is your secret obsession with porn consuming you?
Have you ever seen an ad that made you suddenly realize that you need that product? Maybe the smiling brunette leaning on the sporty new car made you wonder what you would look like driving a new convertible.
Although it is no secret that marketers bombard us with advertising and images that remind us why we need to buy their product – our hair could be shinier, our bodies could be thinner, and our cars sleeker – one very important factor cannot be ignored. Sex sells. This is nowhere more evident than the explosion of the internet porn industry. The proliferation of images, platforms, modalities and avenues for seeking and/or receiving sexual stimulation has skyrocketed in recent years. As one would suspect, the widespread availability and accessibility has fueled widespread usage, and more notably, an insatiable addiction to sexually compulsive behaviors.
No longer is porn relegated to glossy covered magazines hidden in the back of dusty bookstores, but sits instead in the hands of every middle-school child with a smartphone. In 2010, it was reported that the average age that a boy first views porn is age 11 years of age! Whether it manifests as love addiction, sex addiction or porn addiction, the stranglehold of sexually compulsive behaviors does not discriminate on age, gender, religion or socioeconomic status. Instead, it is born as a coping strategy when faced with boredom, sadness, shame, or other emotions and then blossoms through secretive self-soothing and repetition. If we have a look at the statistics, it becomes very clear that there is a problem.
- 5% to 8% of the adult population has a porn addiction
- 11 to 12 hours a week are spent consuming porn
- As many as 93.2% of boys and 63.1% of girls have been exposed to porn by age 18
- The earlier the exposure, the greater the risk of addiction
- 25% of all search engine requests are related to porn
- 35% of all downloads from the internet are pornographic
- 40 million Americans say they regularly visit porn sites
- 70% of men aged 18 to 24 visit porn sites at least once a month
- 17% of women say they struggle with porn addiction
- The largest consumer group of online porn is men between the ages of 35 and 49
- One-third of all internet porn users are women
- Sunday is the most popular day of the week for viewing porn
- Thanksgiving is the most popular day of the year for viewing porn
- 1 in 5 youth pastors and 1 in 7 senior pastors use porn regularly and are currently struggling
- 43% of all pastors say they have struggled with porn in the past
- 64% of Christian men, and 15% of Christian women watch porn at least once a month
- And only 7% of churches have a ministry program for those struggling with porn addiction
But how does one define addiction? Generally, we refer to it as an “addiction” when it becomes a problematic behavior that affects other areas of one’s life. Patrick Carnes, the author of Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, writes that sexual addiction is any sex-related compulsion that interferes with normal living and causes severe stress to family, friends, loved ones or one’s work environment. This is a form of self-sabotage, and it is very common for sex addicts to make sex a priority over work and relationships which can have a devastating effect on their life.
Initially, I did not set out to work with clients facing this problem, but very quickly noticed how often the topic of sex/porn addiction was a surfacing side issue and how pervasive of an epidemic that it is. My clients were not dirty monsters emerging from the shadows, but “regular” churchgoing corporate husbands and fathers who coached and volunteered. They had kept their secret for years, but didn’t know how to stop their addiction. Seeing marriages on the brink of destruction, or once-dedicated employees facing the loss of their careers, or worse, parents losing access to their children as a result of sexually compulsive behaviors was eye-opening.
If you find yourself caught in the grips of sexually compulsive behavior, it is possible to break free from the repetitive habits that threaten to destroy your marriage, relationships, and career. Having a healthy sexual desire is normal, and nothing to be ashamed of, but when the desire costs you intimacy with your partner, erodes your partner’s trust and your own self esteem, or invokes strong feelings of denial, shame and self-loathing, then you owe it to yourself (and your loved ones) to dig deeper.
If you want to discover a way to empower yourself, become more productive, and create deeper intimacy and passion in your real life relationships, I can show you how. Remember, you can’t get enough of what will never satisfy you. Once and for all, make the choice to understand and purge those compulsive behaviors and regain control of your life.